Monthly Archive: December 2009

Court rejects three challenges to SSSI designation

Last Tuesday, the High Court heard an application for leave to bring proceedings against Natural England to challenge the decision to confirm Ely Pits SSSI.

The four grounds of challenge were that Natural England:
1) should have carried out a strategic environmental assessment (SEA) as required by the SEA Directive before it confirmed the SSSI;
2) failed to provide information to the claimants, or the Board unlawfully failed to take account of relevant material because of non-disclosure by Natural England officers;
3) failed to take into account material considerations and/or misdirected itself in relation to certain evidence and in particular the presence of bitterns such that the evidence did not support the decision to confirm the site; and
4) failed to identify full boundaries for the SSSI and in so doing acted irrationally and disproportionately.

Grounds 2 – 4 were summarily dismissed. The judge ordered that ground 1 should await the outcome of an ongoing case elsewhere.

Urgent: Planning application for Roswell Pits

Jalsea Marine submitted a planning application for major works at Roswell Pits. Most of the application is retrospective and would enable the owner to make use of all the unauthorised work that has already been done on the site (currently the subject of an enforcement action by ECDC). It’s vital that as many local people as possible have their say on these plans, so please read on, and then tell ECDC what you think, by 22 December.

What’s proposed
• Moorings for electric boats, and facilities for canoes.
• Two sets of fishing swims for disabled anglers
• A permanent track plus turning space for emergency vehicles.
• A “comfort room” and toilet, plus a car park, on the hard standing near the level crossing.
• Lighting and CCTV facilities at the two sets of swims, which will be linked by a boardwalk.
• Removing more trees.

What we think
We believe that the ecological and recreational importance of this site means that it is entirely the wrong place for this development. While we support the principle of providing facilities for disabled anglers and boaters, we think these could be provided more safely and at lower cost alongside existing facilities elsewhere, where there would be no need for additional infrastructure such as emergency vehicle access. Click here for further details.

What you can do
The planning application can be found on the ECDC website by clicking here. It is vitally important that you tell ECDC in your own words what you think of these plans by 22 December at the latest, quoting ref: 09/00898/FUL.